Has Melissa Harris-Perry learned anything?
As tearful on-air apologies go, Melissa Harris-Perry's performance yesterday on MSNBC was pretty good. It looked sincere, and if it was just an act, then the lady may have a future in drama. (For background on what she apologized for see this.) But the real question is: did she learn anything from the experience? Has she reflected at all on the nature of the Romney family, which she set up for mockery by including a family picture in segment devoted to progressive wisecracking.
In case you missed it, here is the video of her apology, followed by a transcript, courtesy of Newsbusters:
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: Good morning. I'm Melissa Harris-Perry. We have a lot of news and politics to discuss this morning. Before we get to that, I'm going to start with an apology.
Last Sunday, we invited a panel of comedians for a year in review program. It's what we call our look back in laughter. But in one of the segments, we looked at a number of photos that caught our attention over the course of the year. In that segment, I asked my guests to provide kind of off the cuff ideas for captions of the photos that we were seeing. Among the images we aired was one of the Romney family that showed Governor Mitt Romney's grandchildren, including his adopted grandson, who's African-American.
Now given my own family history, I identify with that picture and I intended to say positive and celebratory things about it, but whatever the intent was, the reality is that the segment proceeded in a way that was offensive. And showing the photo in that context, that segment, was poor judgment.
So without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family. Adults who enter into public life implicitly consent to having less privacy. But their families, and especially their children, should not be treated callously or thoughtlessly. My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off-limits, and for that I am sorry.
Also, allow me to apologize to other families formed through transracial adoption, because I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule. On this program we are dedicated to advocating for a wide diversity of families. It is one of our core principles, and I am reminded that when we are doing so, it must always be with the utmost respect.
We're generally appreciative of everyone who offered serious criticisms of last Sunday's program, and I am reminded that our fiercest critics can sometimes be our best teachers.
That last line is rather encouraging. But as Big Fur Hat noted at iOwnTheWorld.com,
... the statement she makes also has a HUGE FAT LIE in it. Leftwits cannot help it, can they? The segment was called "Look back in Laughter," or some such thing. But she expected the photo of the Romneys to elicit "celebratory" comments from her panel of nitwitted, mean-spirited untalented comedians.
Harris-Perry has a history of outrageous, unhinged progressive provocations, such as claiming that children don't belong to their parents, but to "the community," and likening "Obamacare" to the n-word. Her most famous image, that will haunt her until her death, is the notorious tampon earrings moment.
So she has a history of beclowning herself in the interest of making a left wing point about something or other. Thinking matters through carefully, as one might expect a PhD-holding commentator to do, is not her métier. Getting attention for rashness is.
Still, it behooves those of us on the right to practice kindness, and so we'll put her in the category of a work in progress. Perhaps having mocked the humanity of her political opponents and lived to regret it, she will examine her assumptions of who is wearing the white hats and who the black hats (Oops! Is that image racist?). Once upon a time I was in the same ideological camp as Harris-Perry. One of the things that changed me was the observation that in the way they lived, conservatives generally were much better human beings than leftists, who generally behaved as thought their "correct" and "compassionate" political positions meant that they had done their good works, and were free to treat others as mere objects.